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Spice Health Heroes by Natasha MacAller.  Photography © Manja Wachsmuth Photography 2016. Published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group

Whether we are inhaling the aromas of curry with spices like cardamom, cumin and coriander, or tasting a pasta sauce rich with rosemary, basil and oregano,  generally we simply enjoy the taste and smell food sensations. But although the word spice evokes the concept of piquant flavors and aromas of foods or drinks,  most of us don’t think of the ways in which these different herbs and spices may be altering our metabolism or have a medicinal effect. 

Gala poster

The 2015 Eat! Vancouver Food and Cooking Festival at BC Place May 1st to  3rd, kicks off with the Canadian Flavours Gala at the Terminal Club on Thursday, April 30th.
The Gala event will feature 24 wineries and food offerings from ...

Giant water lillies of the Amazon

Near  the confluence of the Marañon and Ucayalli Rivers we traveled by motorized skiff to a  sheltered lagoon area to see giant water lilies. It was at times a rather hair-raising trip through thick water weeds that fouled up the motor of the skiff but the sight of the water lilies was worth it.

At least it was for the passengers who sat and watched while the guides had to repeatedly climb out of the boat and get into the water to slash away weeds so the boat could move though the undergrowth and access the lagoon....

Evan Frayne, Ron Reed. Photo by Damon Calderwood

Vancouver, BC: Who would have thought that a 65 minute play about an imagined conversation between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis could be as spell-binding as I found this show to be? I was enthralled throughout.

And this just might be Ron Reed's finest performance yet, as the physically ailing Freud, whose mind and wit remains sharp as it ever was despite the excruciating pain of his oral cancer.

carrot and ginger soup at Heirloom

The pre-show dinner I enjoyed at Heirloom Vegetarian restaurant may have just changed my attitude about vegetarian cuisine. Enjoying fish and shellfish, meats, specially charcuterie, and having an aversion to the texture of many  grains and beans I have tended to avoid places serving only vegetarian foods.

But checking out Heirloom's menu on line, I thought it looked really different and interesting enough for me to try it out. Glad I did because the flavour and creamy texture of the ginger-carrot soup-of-the-day alone was fantastic enough for me to want to make a return visit to try more menu items....

house in the Pacama village

here are several villages in the area we visited, where the local riberenos of the Pacama tribe live on the banks of the Amazon river. The guides  try to schedule visits to different villages for their various tour groups. We visited the Pacama Village on the Nahuapa River.

La Turmalina cruised slowly along, quite close to the river banks till we reached the village to which our visit had been arranged. Unfortunately it was  pouring with rain. The ground was very muddy and despite my long but unwieldy poncho I got very wet. As it was also hot, it was...

night falls on the Amazon

Pictures speak louder than words... or do they? For today's post I feature a selection of the scores of pictures I took on my Amazon River cruise.

interior of my cabin

After alternately sweltering and scratching in the oven-like tent structures of the Kapok Camp, not to mention my pee-in-the-bottle incident (see K: Kapok Camp in the Peruvian Jungle), my tiny bathroom back on board La Turmalina, with its flush toilet and walk-in shower felt like a luxury hotel to me. Here is a more detailed description.

TEDx Stanley Park 2015

TEDx StanleyPark 2015 is coming up fast. It will be held at the Granville Island Stage, 1585 Johnston St., Granville Island on May 23rd from 10am – 6pm, with an after party 6 – 8pm. About 450 people are expected to attend.

The Theme for this year's program is Ideas to Action and the organizers have lined up an impressive and varied range of speakers. I had the opportunity to hear several of the presenters discuss their topics and am eager to hear their talks.

early morning jungle visit

As I confessed with a degree of hyperbole in my first entry A: Amazon Jungle Adventure - why?, "heat and humidity, bugs and butterflies, moths and mosquitoes rank far below the bottom of my list of favorite things, while comfortable beds, hot showers, flush toilets  and temperate insect-free environments place way over the top".

While the accommodations aboard La Turmalina were not luxurious, they were comfortable and I had no "water" issues, at least while on the ship.

But the day came when we rose before sunrise for a very early morning excursion into the Pucate River. The kitchen staff prepared packaged...

me planting

 Deforestation and loss of species in the rainforests of the Amazon Basin is something of which I was vaguely aware but never made it to the forefront of my consciousness.

 Human settlement and forest clearing for subsistence farming is a major cause of deforestation, as is road building, harvesting of valuable hardwood and plant retrieval for medicinal use.

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